Module 3 Week 6: Workshop Challenge


Module 3 Week 6 

By the end of this week you should be able to:

  1. Research and analyse how interdisciplinary collaboration can form exciting partnerships in graphic design;
  2. Research and analyse new genres of design specialism;
  3. Identify a discipline and specialist who could help you to reflect from a dynamically opposing position on a specific problem;
  4. Find, manage and record your cross-disciplinary discussion in relation to the specific problem;
  5. Manage your independent learning effectively.
Lecture notes

Interdisciplinary provocation 

Louize Harries and Susanna Edwards Podcast 

Her background is in fashion textiles and knit. She worked in the fashion industry and briefly had her own brand. She then decided to go back to university to study at Saint Martin’s College, London. Material Futures


She is personally influenced by Black Mountain college in California. They say that they were committed to interdisciplinary co collaborations.

Drone project  

The collaborative project she did with another designer. The project was about London air quality. They wanted to create a reaction to London air quality. 

They designed a drone that triggered when the air quality level went above a certain level. To start with she researched the effect on the human body and how this will affect future generations. 

They need the public to push the conversation to make change.

They wanted to create visual images of red rain in almost like a biblical feel to the images. 

There has to be a reason and strongly researched idea that you connect with if you are going to develop a project on it. 

Working with people from different sector can really bring a new perspective to the project. Designers could illustrate or visually communicate the concept that for example, scientist are trying to illustrate with big academic papers 

Workshop Challenge

What are the advantages of interdisciplinary provocation and how could you utilise this approach in your practice?

Put theory into practice and spend an hour brainstorming ideas based on the following challenge and who you would choose to work with.

Identify a discipline and specialist who could help you to reflect from a dynamically opposing position on a specific problem.

Pick one of the issues below and discuss with your chosen individual how you may solve the challenge. This should ideally be recorded as an audio podcast. Our interest in this also relates to the way in which different disciplines discuss an issue and their manner and approach in communicating differently, as well as how you would capture this.

As a guide, please evolve your own strategy for bridging the questions. Equally, you may wish to also consider the core issues: how would your specialism solve this and how different is this to the expected design thinker?

Do not forget to consider the communication style you would use to encourage an interdisciplinary dialogue.

Finally, how do you summarise these findings in a way that is acceptable to both collaborators?

Some possible areas I could look at

Improving mental health in young adults.

Reducing pollution in inner cities.

Encouraging greater engagement with galleries and museums.

Reducing isolation and loneliness.

Promoting greater community cohesion.

Podcast with John Neve – Project Manager for Cambridge University 

Chosen top area: Encouraging greater engagement with galleries and museums.


I want to look at the kettles yard extension that has had a great deal of controversy surrounding it. Kettles Yard is a museum in Cambridge that is not like any other. 

The art gallery is set in a house, which was originally the home of Jim Ede and his wife Helen. In 1956, they converted four small cottages into an incredible home which displayed their most magnificent early 20th-century art collection. The couple did open house afternoons to give visitors and students the opportunity to look around his art collection in a domestic setting. It was Jim that would usually conduct the tours.

In 1966, the couple gave the house and the entire collection to the University of Cambridge but continued to live in the house until 1973 when they moved the Edenborough. The house was entirely preserved as the Ede’s left it so that when visitors came, they could walk around this beautiful 1960s home and explore a part of history, stood still in a very private setting. The gallery was very informal and often live music was played during people’s visits. Artists would come and talk to small groups about their work and sit, reclined on couches. 

The space was totally unique, and the cottage layout of the house is complicated to navigate with small winding staircases and small wobbly corridors. In the 1970s, the house was extended to create an exhibition gallery space in a contrasting modernist style. The extension was designed my Leslie Martin.

In 2015, the museum was closed again to undergo major building works, adding an educational wing with four floors, a new entrance, courtyard, improved exhibition galleries and a café. The project cost £11,000,000 including £2,320,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £3,700,000 from the Arts Council England. The original interior of the house was left untouched.       

There are many apposing opinions on this project from all different perspective and I would like to speak to the project manager behind the project to find out about the different obstacles and constraints behind this project and his view on the project as a whole.

Having grown up in Cambridge, I know Kettles yard well and spent many afternoons looking at the art and exploring this magical and captivating setting, this is a subject that is very close to my heart. 

My opinion 

Personally I think the expansion of an education centre and improvement of the gallery space is a really positive thing as it makes the gallery more accessible to people, it allows students to learn more about the collection and it allows the gallery to be restored and updated without touching the original collections. This means that people will be more inclined to visit it and the amazing story can be passed down to new generations, perfectly preserved. 

Disabled access 

I should also mention that the wobbly old collages are terribly complicated to navigate, and you have to climb up high stone steps followed by narrow corridors and wooden spiral staircases. The surfaces are uneven, and it was impossible to create disabled access routes in the old cottages. Opening up this new space has meant that larger sections of the gallery have disabled access and so that a wider group of people can enjoy the gallery. I think this is crucial and important that as many people as possible can enjoy and experience art with no exclusions.   


In order to preserve the art, some aspects needed to be taken into account. To start with, in order to get the roof lighting evenly illuminating the walls 

But what did the project manager, who was given this project by the University of Cambridge, think about the process of this project but also the outcome and how this has impacted the overall success of the gallery? 

Questions brainstorm:

What was hoped from it what they wanted to achieve? 

Who was behind the project? 

Where the money came from?  

What was the aesthetic idea?

Why did they want an extension from a design point of view ?

When they decided they were going to build it, what they envisaged it being like? 

What was the design conception was? 

Why was the feedback on the whole quite negative? 

What were the constraints of this project? 


Interview with John Neve: Head of all Projects at Cambridge University about the project management and controversy around Kettles Yard art House extension

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